[IRAN / BIOGRAPHICAL COMPENDIUM OF THE POETS OF THE SAFAVID PERIOD] Tazkirah-e Nasrâbâdî. [i.e. Book of the biographies by Nasrâbâdî]

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SAFI MIRZA (Mohammad Taher Mirza), (1587-1614), Der Chaphânâ-ye Armagan, Tehran, [Sh. 1317] = 1938.

Original wrappers. Roy. 8vo. (24 x 16 cm). In Persian. [6], 575, [1] p., b/w ills. Slight foxing covers, and a skillfully repaired spine; overall a very good and untrimmed copy.

First complete printed edition in book form of this extremely rare compilation of short biographical notices on one thousand poets of the Safavid period, compiled by the Iranian poet and literary historian Mirza Moḥammad Ṭâḥer Nasrâbâdâ (b. Mârbin of Nasrâbâd, in the vicinity of Isfahan, 1027/1618) and presented to the Safavid Shah Suleimân (r. 1666-1694). Nasrâbâdî embarked upon the project in 1083/1672 (Tazkirah, p. 5) and completed it in 1091/1680.

The book starts with the customary brief passages in praise of God and the Prophet, a discourse on the virtues of poetry, the reasons for composing the work, and a florid eulogy of Shah Suleiman. It consists of a preface (moqaddama) devoted to the poetry of kings and princes, five chapters, titled saff (lit. row), and an epilogue (ḵâtema). The first saff is on emirs, khans, and noted figures, and is divided into three sub-sections (ferqa): Persian rulers and notables; Indian Emirs and Khans; and viziers, court accountants, and secretaries. The second ṣaff is devoted to descendants of the Prophet Mohammad and other religious figures. The third ṣaff, on scholars and the learned men, comprises three ferqa; literati, calligraphers, and dervishes. The fourth row, with three ferqa, is on the poets of Irâq and Khorâsân; the poets of Transoxiana; and the poets of India. The fifth row is devoted to the life and poetry of Naṣrâbâdî and members of his family. Nasrâbâdî's ancestors, according to his autobiography, which appears with a selection of his poems in the last chapter of the book, served two Safavid kings, Shah 'Abbâs I (r.1587-1629), and Shah 'Abbâs II (r. 1642-1666). The ḵâtema, which consists of two sections called dafʿa (time), each divided into three ḥarf (letter), is a collection of chronograms logaz (enigma), a poem constructed as a series of questions; and mu'ammâ (riddle), which does not need to be in the form of a question.

Amounting to about 8,400 lines from one thousand poets, and listing 150 books, treatises, and poetry collections in a condensed and simple language, is a pre-eminent source for Persian poetry in the Safavid period, offering a wealth of information on the customs, culture, architecture, political history, and social organization of Iran and India in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is also an invaluable source on schools, bookstores, the bookbinding industry, diseases, poets, calligraphers, musicians, storytellers, painters, craftsmen, architects, dervishes, and finally, villages and cities of Iran, with particularly rich offerings on Isfahan (Hassani - Afshar). Many poems are transcribed in local dialects and accents. The work also abounds in words and phrases that appear obsolete and arcane now but were current at the time.

Editions: A selection of Tazkirah's entries, edited by Moḥammad Shafi Lâhurî, was first published in Lahore in 1935. Vaḥid Dastgerdi published the book first as a supplement to Armagan, 1937-38, a monthly literary journal he founded in 1919, and then as a book in 1938 [in Armagan Printing House in Tehran]. (Source: Encyclopædia Iranica).

Moshar p. 1254 (Vol. 1).; Only one copy in Harvard University (date of Harvard copy may be wrong -1928-) in OCLC: 1193254982.